DFP columnist Dave Baumeister questions the electability of candidates who shoot big on universal healthcare and recommends the more pragmatic approach of restoring the proven Affordable Care Act.
This week. I saw a post from a friend on Facebook regarding Medicare for All, or M4A, as she writes.
It does seem like much of what we have been hearing lately concerning the Democratic presidential candidates is tied in with this concept. And my Facebook friend is a big Bernie Sanders supporter. In fact, she was also a big Sanders supporter in 2016, too.
Now, I have nothing against Sen. Sanders, as I think he would make a fine President. I voted for him in 2016, but I had much less to choose from.
Like many, I thought the nomination was stolen from him by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the superdelegates and the DNC, who all essentially handed the Presidency to Donald Trump by foisting an unlikeable candidate on the rest of America.
Sanders would have won the Electoral College and the popular vote in a landslide. And I believe there is a cadre of people around who still support Sanders for this reason.
But to me, as a voter, I don’t think the Bernie Sanders we have now is the same as the one as we saw in 2016.
That guy was so likable he had birds landing on his podium at rallies.
Now, I suggest that you find Sanders giving a speech at a rally or during a debate on TV, turn down the sound, watch the man on the screen and imagine all you are hearing, over and over, is “Hey, you kids, get off of my lawn!!”
But I give him credit that he was the one that brought Medicare for All into the forefront of the campaign (although I remember George McGovern bringing this up long ago).
So, let me get back to my friend. In that recent post, she talks about not being able to take early retirement from work because she and her family need the insurance.
She is on the state retirement system, so it allows for a person to get full retirement benefits once they have been in the SDRS 30 years and their combined years of work and their age equals 85.
However, when she looks at insurance, she is not eligible for Medicare until age 65. I would guess she is around 57.
She is right. M4A would cover her right away and allow her to retire, but just electing Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren does not mean this would automatically take effect.
What are the chances Medicare for All will even become law in the next eight years, especially if Warren or Sanders would be elected President, and their states elect Republicans to replace them (Both Vermont and Massachusetts currently have Republican governors, so having a Democrat in the Senate is not a foregone conclusion).
I am not going to advocate for Joe Biden or any other candidate here, but I will advocate for Biden’s plan to rebuild the ACA.
Any person in the President’s office can do this. Remember, most of what Trump did to gut the ACA was done by executive order. The next President can change all of that back with the stroke of a pen on the same day that he or she takes the oath.
Then my friend could look at buying into an ACA exchange to get her insurance at a much more affordable cost and continue with her pre-65 retirement plans.
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren can do this, too, but if they are so hell bent for election on their M4A plans – and ONLY their M4A plans – they will be less likely to do anything that may keep those plans from happening.
I think total universal health care in this country would be a great thing, and, no doubt, someday it will happen. The ACA was a first step toward that.
But if I were worried about retirement before age 65 (and I am 61 now), I would be looking at the plan which would help me now, as opposed to one that would probably never be enacted in time to help me.
And now, I need to look at something else. My current insurance policy. I am planning to support whoever gets the Democratic nomination for President, as long as that person isn’t from New York City (Wasserman-Schultz, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, all from NYC, have given us the White House situation we have today).
I will never need M4A, because it won’t exist before I am 65. I don’t need Obamacare, because my current insurance is better.
But most of the people where I work are younger than me. We do not pay anything for our single policies, and our deductible is less than what the deductible currently is under Medicare.
So why would they vote for a person who hinges his and her campaigns to replacing our insurance with something more expensive?
The simple answer is that most probably won’t.